Hello readers,

Penguins weren’t the only ones in tuxedos at Lincoln Park Zoo on the evening of July 15. The 39th Annual Zoo Ball gala welcomed more than 900 distinguished guests to the black tie affair, which raised more than $1.35 million for interactive exhibits, including the conservation of endangered African penguins that will become the zoo’s latest residents this fall.

In keeping with the theme, the event (hosted by the Women’s Board) was held in an outdoor tent decorated to look like South Africa’s Boulders Beach. It was the joint vision of FROST Chicago and Jewell Events Catering who merged ombre tones of burnt orange, red and yellow in the décor and also provided quaint cabanas for relaxation during a night of dancing to the eclectic music of Ugochi and the Afro Soul Ensemble.

The event also included a silent auction with tickets to Broadway in Chicago’s “Hamilton,” an on-field experience with the Chicago Cubs, a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa donated by Jet Set Travel Inc., and a weekend stay in a luxury suite at the Waldorf Astoria.

For the main course, Jewell Events Catering whipped up a three-course dinner with tableside carving service while spirits were provided by Breakthru Beverage Illinois. For dessert, guests enjoyed a s’mores bar (prepared with tabletop fire pits) and, later, a visit to Firecakes Donut Truck on the way out the door made the perfect final treat.

Here are our favorite 10 sights of the night:

1. Plus penguin decorations greeted guests as they arrived in the tent.

2. The lush cabanas provided a point of relaxation throughout the night.

3. One of the desserts offered a deconstructed lemon meringue tart accompanied by illuminated penguins.

4. Music was provided by Ugochi and the Afro Soul Ensemble.

5. A delicious s’mores station provided a unique sweet.

6. The main course featured herb-crusted beef tenderloin, broccolini, potato savyored, cauliflower, asparagus, pea pods, and carrots with cabernet-gorgonzola sauce.

7. Some of the tablescapes created by FROST Chicago and Jewell Events Catering.

8. A look inside the tent, designed to look like South Africa’s Boulders Beach.

9. Guests enjoyed a night of full entertainment and dancing.

10. Everyone took a last trip to the Firecakes Donut Truck before heading home.

Happy Planning!

Selena Fragassi
Editor
Illinois Meetings + Events

Photos 1-7 provided by Alain Milotti
Photo 8 provided by John Reilly
Photos 9-10 provided by Violet Dominek at John Reilly

On May 31 at International Market Square, the National Speakers Association – Minnesota Chapter (NSAMN) held its annual gala to celebrate the past year and recognize outstanding members, from those who earned their CSP to those who offered advice and knowledge throughout the year. Awards were presented for Newcomer IMPACT, Chapter Member of the Year, Next Level, Volunteer of the Year, the Mark Leblanc Award, Minnesota Speaker Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award. The incoming board was also introduced.

 

MNM+E’s annual readers’ choice awards brought 295 meeting and event professionals to the Lumber Exchange Event Center on April 24 to honor the 2019 award winners and Hall of Famers. Frank Maciel was the event’s emcee. Mall of America was the premier sponsor, and Discover St. Louis Park was the event’s Uber sponsor, giving attendees a credit to the ride-share app.

 

The 2018 Meeting Planners Symposium held at The Graduate Minneapolis and McNamara Alumni Center was all about unique venues and experiences. From a Scrabble team challenge to a mini hackathon, meeting with no walls and a surprise session on a coach bus, this learning opportunity was anything but ordinary. Teams worked together to solve a complex problem and pitch their idea for $500 cash. Through beautiful chaos, attendees discovered fresh, unconventional approaches to do their jobs better.